Feb 1 (Daily reading: Exodus 7-9) Do not be troubled that God said, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart” (7:3). Eight other times in these three chapters, we read that Pharaoh hardened his heart, such as, “He hardened his heart and did not listen to them” (8:15). The Personal Growth Study Bible (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996) notes that: “The same hot sun that melts wax, hardens clay” (p. 74). When God reveals His power to people, as He did to Pharaoh, it can melt the hearts of those who believe, and it can further harden the hearts of those who rebel against Him.
I have always been intrigued that when Moses asked Pharaoh when the frogs should depart, Pharaoh said, “Tomorrow” (8:10). I cannot imagine why he said that unless his heart was so far removed from faith that his first thought was procrastination. Have you ever heard someone say, “I plan on receiving Christ someday, but I am not yet ready?” Such is the nature of unbelief.
Some might say, “If I could just have proof, I might believe.” When the livestock of Egypt died but the livestock of Israel did not, Pharaoh verified that the livestock of the Israelites was alive. We then read, “But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go” (9:7). The mockers at the cross said, “Let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him” (Mt. 27:42). And then He walked out of His tomb alive! Faith is not produced by proof; faith is believing even when proof is not evident! “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
Jesus said to Thomas, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (Jn. 20:29).